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Friday, January 6, 2012

For example, "living life to the fullest" is cliche


        Hey kids,

       I'm sorry to have been on hiatus for the last few weeks, but I can only promise you that it will happen again. As you know, my life is a boiling cauldron of resentments and my soul is seething with bitterness. I remember things. I remember an editor and a colleague both trying to correct me on my usage of "for instance" instead of "for example," or vice versa. Guess what, you bean-counting nitpicks? Most writing specialists agree that the two can be used absolutely interchangeably! It really doesn't matter, aside from some poetic or artistic considerations. Okay, now that I've gotten that hair off my chest, I'll go on to my other gripe.

   There are a lot of empty phrases or cliches people use when they want to make a point or dress up their language or otherwise be pretentious in some small way. My friends and Twitter lovers offered a few examples of  empty or annoying words and phrases:

1 Literally: As in "he literally beat the living hell out of him" or "I literally ate a ton of pizza."  When of course, it's obvious that no one has ever beaten the fire and sulfur out of another individual nor eaten a garbage truck full of pizza -at least not in one sitting.

2 Bear with me:  A Twitter lover expressed that idea that if  someone isn't  seriously imposing on you, then this phrase doesn't need to be used. My insight is that ESL speakers must find this phrase confusing, perhaps conjuring up images of large woodland beasts in close proximity to the speaker.

3 At the end of the day: Yeah, this phrase can be trite and inaccurate- "At the end of the day, the United States just isn't the superpower it used to be."

4 Living life to the fullest: I can't stand this one. The idea is fine, but the actual use of the phrase is often ridiculous. Whether it's compulsive women who sleep with anyone who cross their path and neglect their Neverneverland family of adolescents in favor of partying or falling down alcoholics who accuse everyone of judging them for the lifestyle they're not ashamed of, I'm generally not impressed with people who use this this phrase. I remember correcting a lazy illiterate's paper where she said she wanted to remembered as "living life to the fullest" because she hung out with friends and partied a lot; meanwhile, she really was illiterate, probably never read a book in her life, and when asked what she wanted to do for a living would respond that she wanted to be a "physical therapy." 

           I think that's enough bile and bitterness for today. Thanks for reading!
                                 RRM

4 comments:

  1. Throwing out the baby with the bath water once again. Nice dangling comma.

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  2. I love using the phrase, "at the end of the day." It makes me feel warm and fuzzy... and also like a middle-management superstar.

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  3. Yes, those were some serious pronouncements and suggestions I made. When you see this blog, you better think policy paper. As for the rest of you, I seek to provide good customer service.

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